This season looks to be more even than ever, with every single team having won at least one game and lost at least one game, and the quality of cricket has been outstanding. 

Perth Scorchers v Sydney Sixers

The round kicked off on Friday night when the Scorchers met the Sixers at North Sydney Oval.

The Scorchers were dealt an early blow when teams were announced, with skipper Meg Lanning out with a back issue.

English import Amy Jones replaced her at top of the order, fresh off of a fantastic T20 World Cup, and filled in brilliantly, bringing up her half-century off just 25 deliveries. Elyse Villani provided some solid foil at the top of the order, with the openers sharing a 77-run stand.

When Villani was dismissed in the eighth over, the Scorchers looked on track for 180 or more, but an attacking spell of middle-innings bowling from Dane van Niekerk halted Perth’s momentum.

Perth’s middle and lower order will need to stand up if they’re going to cause damage in this competition, and they failed on Friday with batters four through eight combining for just 34 runs off 33 balls when their team needed to accelerate.

The match belonged to Ellyse Perry though, who scored a fantastic century to guide her team home.

Van Niekerk rounded out a solid match by playing some conventional cricket shots to steady the innings and provide a handy partner for Perry.

With the Sixers needing 42 off 30, Perry hit a beautiful six over cover and a slog sweep for four to ensure her team would cruise to victory.

With eleven balls to go, the Sixers needed seven to win, and Perry was on 98 not out. Van Niekerk was on strike, though, and clearly didn’t get the memo as she smashed a boundary to bring Perry’s hundred into question.

However, on the next ball van Niekerk took a tactical single to get Perry on strike, with two runs to win and two runs to bring up her century. Heather Graham nearly ruined the fairy-tale by bowling a wide, but with scores level, Perry went straight back over the bowlers’ head to bring up her century and guide her team to victory with the winning runs.

The Scorchers will rue their poor fielding, particularly Kate Cross, who made three errors that cost her team boundaries.

Hobart Hurricanes v Melbourne Stars

The Stars and Hurricanes played twice over the weekend and split the results, with the Stars winning a close first match before the ‘Canes hit back with a massive win the following day.

On Saturday, Hobart batted first, but they were in trouble early as Nicola Hancock and Annabel Sutherland had them 2/8 in the first two overs. That brought Engllish superstar Heather Knight to the crease, who showed exactly why the Hurricanes missed her so much last season.

She ended with 82 off just 55 deliveries, and her ability to find the boundary without taking unnecessary risks was a lesson for all youngsters. She had some help from Hayley Matthews and Corinne Hall, but the highlights were all from Knight, who belted two sixes on the second and third last balls of the innings to take Hobart’s total to 158.

Melbourne’s chase couldn’t have got off to a worse start, with last-start centurion Lizelle Lee facing out a maiden in the first over.

The Stars were struggling mightily at 4/23 when Erin Osborne and Mignon du Preez came together at the crease. Their partnership ended up winning the Stars the game, and after a slow start, they accelerated the innings perfectly until they needed just four runs off the last over.

The fifteenth over, bowled by all-rounder Erin Fazackerley, was incredibly costly for Hobart, with du Preez and Osborne taking fifteen runs off it.

The two teams met again on Sunday, but it was a very different story, with Hobart dominating from ball one.

Smriti Mandhana was the star early, but Fazackerley and Matthews found the rope too, and the Hurricanes had made 55 runs by the end of the powerplay. Mandhana (who scored a 24 ball fifty), Matthews and Knight continued their dominance, proving that Hobart have one of the best ensembles of international players in the competition.

Skipper Sasha Moloney showed that she might need to promote herself from number eight after 23 off 9 not out to round out a massive total for her side.

The Stars’ innings started off well, with opener Ange Reakes top scoring with 31 and giving the Stars a sniff in the powerplay. After that, though, the Stars innings spluttered and they ended up being bowled out for 124.

Knight proved her all-round value with 3/10 off three overs, including a brilliant one handed caught and bowled, but all of the Hurricanes’ bowlers took a wicket to form a solid bowling unit.

Melbourne Renegades v Adelaide Strikers

The Renegades overcame the Strikers on the last ball of the match in what was the match of the round.

After winning the toss and electing to bat, skipper Suzie Bates combined with countrywoman Sophie Devine to put on 86 runs for the first wicket. While Bates showed off her ability to score quickly and access all areas of the ground, Devine was unable to get out of first gear and struggled to find the middle of the bat in her 43 balls at the crease.

Tahlia McGrath came in and had a more than handy cameo of 33 off 20 at first drop, but after that the Strikers’ innings halted and their thin middle order was exposed. Amanda-Jade Wellington is perhaps one spot too high at number five, and Adelaide might want to consider playing another batter in future matches.

With momentum firmly in their favour, the Renegades came out to bat as slight favourites. Danni Wyatt continued a good round for the Englishwomen, joining compatriots Amy Jones and Heather Knight with a half century of her own. Her innings was the catalyst for the Renegades, and as wickets fell around her, she set up the game perfectly for the middle order.

Unfortunately, she fell right when her side needed her to keep accelerating, but Claire Koski and Erica Kershaw picked up the pieces, putting on 62 runs to overhaul Adelaide’s total. It came down to the last over, though, with Melbourne needing eight to win and Sophie Devine having ball in hand.

Devine bowled brilliantly until the last ball, which allowed Claire Koski to launch a boundary to square leg to seal an incredible win for her team.

One of the highlights of the match was Wareham and Wellington’s duel that showed the embarrassment of riches Australia have when it comes to leg spin, with Wareham taking 2/20 and Wellington 3/27.

The next day both teams ventured to Ballarat to play the second half of the double header. Unfortunately, match two turned out to be a massive letdown compared to first match as rain interrupted play.

Adelaide changed tactics with the ball, opening with Dani Hazell’s off-spin. It worked perfectly. She conceded just three runs an over and put plenty of pressure on Melbourne’s batters.

One thing for certain is that Adelaide’s deep and versatile bowling line-up will be extremely difficult for opponents to deal with.

Duckworth-Lewis set Adelaide 78 from 11 overs, but they only got through 4.3 overs before the rain came and ended the match, ruining what was shaping up to be a fascinating contest between two strong, evenly matched team.  

Brisbane Heat v Perth Scorchers

The Scorchers sunk to the bottom of the table after conceding a heavy defeat at the hands of the Heat.

Brisbane won the toss and elected to bowl and that decision was immediately validated, with Sammy-Jo Johnson, Jess Jonassen and Delissa Kimmince bowling beautifully in the powerplay. After five overs the Scorchers were reeling at 2/17, and the innings never recovered.

Villani scored 45 but couldn’t seem to find the middle of the bat, perhaps struggling with Johnson’s extra pace. The rest of the order provided no help, with number seven Chloe Piparo second top scoring with 12.

When firing, the Heat have a strong bowling attack, and it showed, with quicks Johnson and Kimmince providing wickets with the new ball before spin trio Jess Jonassen, Sune Luus and Jemma Barsby put the clamps on in the middle overs. Between Jonassen’s left arm orthodox, Luus’s leggies and Barsby’s offies, skipper Kirby Short has plenty of options to turn to.

Brisbane were comfortable in their chase, but once again their order was the most interesting part of their innings. Sammy-Jo Johnson stayed at three, while internationals Sune Luus and Laura Woolvardt didn’t bat.

Whether this batting line-up can chase down bigger totals remains to be seen, but Beth Mooney spending some time in the middle is a positive sign for Brisbane for the rest of the tournament.

Sydney Sixers v Sydney Thunder

The local derby is always a hotly fought contest, and this match didn’t lack any intensity.

Perry struck her third consecutive fifty at the top of the order and is certainly firming to be the player of the tournament. In a slight change of pace to her first two innings this tournament, Perry played an anchor role for Sydney, which allowed Erin Burns to flourish at the other end, smashing 44 off 22 and enlivening the Sixers innings.

Burns was extremely unlucky to be dismissed when an Ellyse Perry straight drive ricocheted off Stefanie Taylor’s hand to run out Burns at the non-striker’s end. Perry kept going though, showing her cricket smarts by adjusting her guard to allow her to score freely.

Always strong on the off side, Perry has been taking guard on off stump this tournament to open up the leg side and it seems to be working, with plenty of her runs coming through the mid-wicket region.

The Thunder were under all sorts of pressure as Marizanne Kapp, Ash Gardner, Lauren Cheatle and Perry put the clamps on early, conceding just 35 runs in the first eight overs. At 4/35, the Thunder were in plenty of trouble, but Harmanpreet Kaur showed her class and tried to give her side hope, striking 45 off 28.

Her innings included 20 runs off one Sarah Aley over, and one of the flattest sixes over cover you’ll ever see. Overall, though, too much was left to too little and the Thunder fell 36 runs short.

Sydney Thunder v Brisbane Heat

The Thunder batting line-up proved that they are something to be reckoned with when they fire, posting 192.

Rachel Priest fired at the top of the order, scoring 49 off just 28 deliveries, while Rachael Haynes played second fiddle at the other end. Sammy-Jo Johnson broke the opening stand with two wickets in two balls, but Harmanpreet Kaur picked up where the openers left off, scoring a brilliant 56 off 26.

She showed why she’s one of the world’s best, playing her signature cut shot beautifully and opening up the leg side with her slog sweeping. Kaur took advantage of Brisbane’s spinners with her slog sweeping and lofted cover driving allowing her to score boundaries on both sides of the wicket.

Australian representatives Jess Jonassen and Delissa Kimmince copped some tap with the ball, both conceding over eleven runs per over. Brisbane’s fielding was atrocious and would’ve cost them at least a dozen runs. They will need plenty of improvement in that department if they’re to threaten at all in this tournament.

Brisbane’s chase started solidly with Grace Harris smashing 54 off 28 at the top of the order in a brilliant display of clean hitting that included five sixes.

In the tenth over Harris holed out to Kaur who took a controversial catch that looked to hit the ground on some replays. With Harris gone the Heat lost wickets in a procession, losing 5 for 5 as Maisy Gibson and Stefanie Taylor spun a web through the Heat’s middle order.

It might be time for the Heat reconsider the Sammy-Jo Johnson at three experiment, with the pace bowler-cum-top order batter scoring just 11 off 13. Again, Brisbane stuck with a strange order, with South African T20 and One Day opener Laura Wolvaardt slotting in at eight despite averaging over 45 in One Day Internationals.

Delissa Kimmince also seems to be too low - the big hitting all-rounder came in at seven and made 38 off 23 when the match was already lost. Tactical and skill errors combined today for the Heat and they have plenty to work on before their next match.